Gig Economy: A Boon for Women Gigging is helping women earn well and gain job satisfaction by being able to use their experience for the most relevant opportunities

By Sanjay Lakhotia

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The work-life of women is quite different to that of men. Women along with their full-time jobs are also involved in household responsibilities at all levels. Moreover, in the case of life events like marriage or maternity, things change in a big way for working women. However, a promising dimension of work has emerged from the gig economy for women professionals today, offering the essential but elusive time, flexibility, and balance between personal and professional life. It is helping them spur their careers on without compromising on family time, academics, or even recreation.

It is imperative to grasp the concept that women professionals opting for gigs are not freelancers, part-timers or those who are not corporate job ready. Rather, the gig ecosystem positions them as subject-matter experts with the desired knowhow to successfully execute assignments. The gig economy has created a new world of opportunity, especially one that has resonated with women around the world due to several factors.

Flexibility and Freedom

First and foremost, gigging has created an equal opportunity ecosystem. Freedom from a 9 to 5 schedule is allowing women to allocate time efficiently and achieve more. Recent statistics indicate that the gig economy is booming in the Asia-Pacific. About 84 per cent of talent managers in the region hire or use gig workers.This workforce also includes women who are making their presence felt in the gig space. Research suggests that in parts of the Asia-Pacific in particular, women present big opportunities for accessing scarce skills via contingent and flexible work arrangements.A recent Noble House survey also revealed that 40 per cent of the consultants on their platform are women, who account for nearly 60 per cent of the projects completed. Clearly, the biggest, long-standing obstacle in the career evolution of women – maintaining a work-life balance – has been addressed due to the gig economy.

Equal and Rewarding Pay

Gigging is helping women earn well and gain job satisfaction by being able to use their experience for the most relevant opportunities. The gig economy has greatly bridged the pay gap and boosted pay parity between men and women, a concept which still evades traditional employment models. The 2018 APAC workforce insights reveal that there is a 12 per cent point gap between men and women in traditional full-time jobs but a 5 per cent point difference between men and women working in the gig economy. This could be another reason why women are rapidly outnumbering men in the gig economy.

Upskilling and Hyperspecialisation

The gig economy has created opportunities for women to continue upskilling their capabilities and specialise in their respective fields as a constant exercise. Even large organisations today require the services of women professionals with niche skill sets. This is because it takes a lot of time and resources to build experienced individuals internally. Women are being welcomed as industry consultants, PR experts, law consultants etc. and filling up senior positions in large and growing companies alike.

Rise in Women Employment

The "work from anywhere" culture is at the core of the gig economy and comes as a solution to women looking for flexibility and work-from-home projects. This will surely boost the women's participation in the workforce and eventually the global economy. Apart from this, greater flexibility at the workplace will ensure that a higher proportion of women participate in work. This will further increase the access to talent for companies. By increasing participation from women employees, gig economy is ensuring that every talent pool is maximized.

The Future

Prevalent trends evolving preferences and technological advancements suggest that half of the total workforce by 2020 will be employed in gigs–a number that will increase to almost 80 per cent by 2030. The rapid transition into a predominant gig economy and the validation of this work culture is a fantastic opportunity for women in Asian countries to play a greater role in the professional domains. There is an ever-increasing number of companies outsourcing their work to flexible, expert, and non-payroll workers. This gives women a platform to bridge the gender gap and carve a commanding position for themselves in the global professional workforce.

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Sanjay Lakhotia

Co-Founder, Noble House Consulting Pte.

Noble House Consulting Pte is a Singapore registered company, an HR talent marketplace that helps independent consultants find short- and long-term assignments as per their skill set. Sanjay Lakhotia is the co-founder of Noble House Consulting Pte and has more than 20 years of experience in working across all areas of HR including HR Transformation, Leadership development, HR technology deployment, Performance culture, Rewards etc.  

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